BERLIN, Germany, June 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Teal Group Corp. announced today at the ILA Berlin Air Show 2010 that it is forecasting a total of 416 satellites will be launched to low earth orbit (LEO) aboard 184 launch vehicles during 2010-2014. The study, based on the company's Worldwide Mission Model Online that tracks space payloads proposed worldwide, assumes a 38 percent growth in LEO satellites in the next five years, compared with the past five years and a 17 percent increase in the number of launch missions.
"The numbers of satellites that we have been launching to low earth orbit over the past decade have averaged in the upper 40s or 50s, but we expect these numbers to spike in the next five years" said Marco Caceres, lead analyst for Teal Group's World Space Systems Briefing, which features the Mission Model. "We're seeing an upward trend in nanosatellites and picosatellites that are being launched... We've seen more nanosats and picosats go up in the past four years than in the previous 16 years, and we expect this trend to continue."
A second factor that will contribute to the near-term expansion of the LEO satellite launch market is the launch of replenishment satellites for the Globalstar, Iridium, and Orbcomm mobile communications satellite constellations. While all three systems have added replacement satellites in recent years, the first major wave of replenishments is scheduled to begin this year and continue through 2015-2016. Approximately 24 Globalstars are scheduled to be launched by Soyuz rockets during 2010-2011 and at least 12 Orbcomms by Falcon 1s in 2011-2012, followed by dozens of Iridium satellites beginning in 2014.
"The kind of LEO launch activity that we are projecting has not occurred since the first-generation of small mobile communications satellites was orbited in the second half of the 1990s" noted Caceres. "The difference between now and then is that, in addition to the mobile comsats, we will now also have dozens of tinier satellites weighing between 1-20 kilograms that will be headed to LEO, thus making for an unusually robust segment of the launch services market."
According to the Teal Group analysis, the launch programs that will most benefit from the boom in LEO launch services will be Russia's Soyuz rocket, which is commercially marketed by Arianespace, and to a lesser extent SpaceX's Falcon 1, Eurockot Launch Services' Rockot, ISC Kosmotras' Dnepr, and India's PSLV.
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